Wine & Spirits - October 2017 - 95

US NEW RELEASES
90 | Donkey & Goat

MOURVEDRE

$26

2016 El Dorado Twinkle Mourvedre (Best
Buy) ^ This is mourvedre presented as vin de
soif, a soft and juicy wine with a delightfully
buoyant red-strawberry tone. Chill it before
cracking it open for charcuterie. (295 cases)

PETITE SIRAH
450341

89 | Ravenswood

507733

96 | Skinner

$60

2014 El Dorado Estate Grown Mourvedre ^ Winemaker Chris Pittenger is making
a powerful case that mourvedre is destined
to produce some of California's greatest red
wines. This comes from a small hillside planting at the Skinner family's estate near Fair
Play, where the soil is based on sandy, crumbly decomposed granite. It's a warm site, but
mourvedre needs plenty of heat to ripen, and
the 2014 is just lovely: fragrant with violet
scents yet really substantial, with a hearty,
buoyant black-plum flavor and incredible
structure. At its core, the wine is firm and
cool, and the tannins seem to have absorbed
the dry-pine-needle scent of the Foothills,
bringing length, dimension and a sense of
granitic stature to the irresistible, perfectly
ripe fruit. (97 cases)

PINOT NOIR
507970

96 | Hirsch

95 | Skinner

$30

2015 El Dorado Mourvedre (Best Buy) ^
This is just plain delicious wine-its clean
red-strawberry tone, velvety richness and
refreshing acidity revealing the volcanic foothills of El Dorado County as prime mourvedre terroir. Chris Pittenger blended this wine
from vines planted on granite and volcanic
clays, and maybe it's that complex patchwork
of volcanic soils that accounts for the dark
mineral structure knitting together all that
fruit, a hint of what one taster called smoked
paprika. With air, the flavor becomes increasingly clear and penetrating, taking on a delicate scent of woodland violets. Delicious
now, this should gain dimension with time
in the cellar. (380 cases)
507780

$85

2014 Fort Ross-Seaview West Ridge Pinot
Noir ^ Harvested from the cooler seaward
blocks of the Hirsch estate, West Ridge is a
beauty in 2014, distilling the delicate essence
of pinot noir and the coniferous imprint of
the far Sonoma Coast into a wine that's seamless, transparent and, as editor Josh Greene
put it, "unfettered." Maybe it's the suggestive
power of the wine's aromatic intensity, but
even the bright red color seems a bit magical,
as if glinting with inner light. Underneath its
pink-rose-petal tone, there's an earthen tug
that weaves the aromas into a complex, lasting flavor-imagine the silken yet mineral
texture of a great young Chambolle. This
should age well-or decant it now for simply prepared wild salmon. (245 cases)
450245

96 | Tessier

507730

$10

2014 California Vintners Blend Petite
Sirah (Best Buy) ^ It's rare to find an inexpensive California red with this much gravitas.
This is a burly wine, for sure, but also fresh,
its purple fruit firm rather than sweet, with
a straightforward, honest, bright blackberry
flavor that leans toward peppercorn spice.

$45

2015 Santa Cruz Mountains Saveria Vineyard Pinot Noir ^ For the second year in a
row, this wine from Kristie Tacey, a research
scientist turned winemaker, is nothing short
of astonishing. Noted viticulturist Prudy
Foxx farms Saveria, a sandy, gently sloping
site in the bucolic, aptly named Pleasant
Valley on the coastal side of the Santa Cruz
Mountains. Maybe it's the regular influx of
fog from Monterey Bay that gives the wine
its cool, ferny scent and spacious texture. It's
lacy yet full of intense coastal flavor; there's a
sweet purple-flower tone saturating the wine
until it takes on the richness of fruit-glints
of forest strawberry, bass notes of wild mushrooms and cedar. The one downside: There
are only 528 bottles of it. (44 cases)
507974

95 | Hirsch

$60

94 | Beckon

$45

94 | Lioco

$52

93 | Hirsch

$85

2014 Fort Ross-Seaview San Andreas
Fault Pinot Noir ^ San Andreas is the wine
that represents the entire Hirsch estate, from
the ocean-influenced west ridge to the sunwarmed east ridge; in 2014, it draws from 30
of the vineyard's 61 farming blocks. It has an
undeniable sense of place, capturing coastal
breezes and thin sedimentary ridgetop soils
in the tight weave of its tannins-the fruit
caught halfway between cherry and stone,
cool and shady, yet hinting at vibrant rays
of sunshine. You can access its complex floral spice now, but it's still mostly structure,
nowhere near maturity. Floral, foggy and
mineral, it's a wine you'll want to taste in
another decade. (3,464 cases)
450367
2015 Santa Maria Valley Bien Nacido
Vineyard Pinot Noir ^ Fetzer established
Beckon with the 2012 vintage, focusing on
Central Coast pinot noir and chardonnay,
and winemaker Robert Blue hit it out of the
park with this Bien Nacido bottling. The wine
feels seamless and gauzy, its high-toned floral scent carried in a gentle and satisfying
texture that coalesces around a mushroomy,
umami-laden depth of flavor: perfect for a
simple roast chicken. Fleurie lovers, take
note. (487 cases)
508096
2015 Santa Cruz Mountains Saveria
Pinot Noir ^ Like Tessier's Saveria, recommended here as well, this feels like a distillation of coastal fog wafting through pines
and undergrowth. It's so cool in its tone that
it feels almost alpine: scents of gentian and
mint, and a bracing line of acidity that brings
chokecherries to mind. Above all, it feels
abundantly fresh, with the lacy, perfumed
quality that seems to be this vineyard's calling card. It should flesh out with time in the
cellar, but is impressive now-pour it next to
a Volnay at dinner for a fascinating comparison of pinot noir delicacy. (400 cases)
507973
2014 Sonoma Coast Raschen Ridge Pinot
Noir ^ Named after painter Henry Raschen,
who once lived on what's now the Hirsch
estate, this delightful pinot noir comes from
Hirsch's highest-elevation vineyards. It's not
the most complex wine in the world, but it's
so lithe and lifted, that hardly matters. With
its mood-lifting lavender-and-herb aromas
and weightless energy, it will instantly disappear at a dinner party. Better keep a backup
bottle on hand. (297 cases)
508093
WINE & SPIRITS

OCTOBER 2017

95


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Wine & Spirits - October 2017

Contents
Wine & Spirits - October 2017 - Cover1
Wine & Spirits - October 2017 - Cover2
Wine & Spirits - October 2017 - 1
Wine & Spirits - October 2017 - 2
Wine & Spirits - October 2017 - 3
Wine & Spirits - October 2017 - 4
Wine & Spirits - October 2017 - Contents
Wine & Spirits - October 2017 - 6
Wine & Spirits - October 2017 - 7
Wine & Spirits - October 2017 - 8
Wine & Spirits - October 2017 - 9
Wine & Spirits - October 2017 - 10
Wine & Spirits - October 2017 - 11
Wine & Spirits - October 2017 - 12
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Wine & Spirits - October 2017 - 17
Wine & Spirits - October 2017 - 18
Wine & Spirits - October 2017 - 19
Wine & Spirits - October 2017 - 20
Wine & Spirits - October 2017 - 21
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Wine & Spirits - October 2017 - Cover3
Wine & Spirits - October 2017 - Cover4
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